On 17 May, over 550 colleagues from Penguin Random House UK visited six local Lambeth primary schools, where we celebrated and championed reading for pleasure with pupils through fun activities, the unveiling of stunning murals and book donations. The visits were part of a charity event held by the company each year, which saw 550 staff walking six miles – from our office on the Strand in central London to Brixton – to raise money for our Creative Responsibility partner, the National Literary Trust.
Each of the six schools visited is taking part in Puffin World of Stories: a pilot programme run by Penguin Random House in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, which aims to help 50 primary schools across the country breathe new life into their libraries or reading spaces and turn them into hubs of creativity and imagination. The programme, which is completely free to take part in, gave each school over 300 free Puffin books, resources and colourful materials, as well as specialist training for teachers and librarians.
The programme will continue to work with these schools into the next academic year and a further 80 primary schools across the country will join the programme from September 2019.
During the visits, staff celebrated a love of books and reading with pupils through a series of activities, which included a visit to their newly rejuvenated libraries or reading spaces. At each of the schools, we gave every Year 6 pupil a free book to take home with them, in addition to the books that have already been donated to the school through Puffin World of Stories.
We also created and funded colourful murals at two of the schools – Ashmole Primary School and St Stephen’s Church of England Primary School – to be a lasting commemoration of the joy of reading. The murals featured the spines of pupils’ favourite book titles.
Ashmole Primary School’s Deputy Head said, “Our school library used to be unloved and neglected but, thanks to Puffin World of Stories, the library, and reading, are now at the heart of our school. Our library is busy and thriving and pupils are enjoying everything to do with reading and books.”
The walk was raising money for the National Literacy Trust, which is headquartered in Lambeth, and works with schools and communities to give disadvantaged children the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills they need to achieve their potential and break the cycle of poverty. Penguin Random House colleagues in Frating, Essex and Grantham, Lincolnshire also held their own charity walks last week, bringing the total raised for the charity to £12,300.
This event was just one of a number of different ways that we are working with the National Literacy Trust, including an extensive colleague volunteering programme, colleague fundraising, and a goal to donate 150,000 books to National Literacy Trust Hubs in disadvantaged areas across the UK.